Sunday, April 28, 2013

On the Hard

We hauled Merengue last Monday for some repairs and new bottom paint.
As many times as I've seen her hanging in a sling, which was twice a year in Milwaukee, I'm always a little nervous.  Boats are meant to be floating, not hanging in the air or propped up on hard ground!
Repairs began the same day and it's been a productive week.

The packing for the stuffing box was replaced.
Old packing on the left and new packing material on the right.
The thru hulls were replaced.
We also have new lower rigging (uppers were done in St. Thomas a few years ago), a new topping lift, the Y-valve has been lubricated and the new fuel tank will be installed this week.  The hull below the waterline was sanded in preparation for new paint.  The hull above the waterline was cleaned and polished.  We also have our own list of projects that we are working on while the guys in the boatyard handle these big projects.
Cruisers have a saying that B.O.A.T. stands for
Break Out Another Thousand.
In our case there should probably be an S on the end of thousand.
While Merengue gets primped and polished, we are staying on land.
The boat is so torn up inside that there is no way we could live aboard while the work is going on.  We are in a lovely apartment where we have unlimited hot water, cable T.V., choice of ceiling fans or air conditioning, microwave oven, high speed Internet, etc.  I know most of you will think we are crazy but we find ourselves missing living on the water in Merengue.  I guess we are well suited to the live aboard lifestyle!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Work Work Work Beach Work Work Rum Work...

It can be hard finding the motivation to tackle boat projects when you live in paradise. 
There is always something luring us away.
Like the day our friends Jan and Larry stopped by just as we were getting the tools out to start a project.  "Hey Merengue, do you want to go to Grand Anse beach?"

Hmmmm, let's see, do we want to do this

... or should we do this?
I don't have to tell you which won out.  After all, I did get the picture of Jim in the ocean!
That day we went and played tourist at the beach but we are getting some projects crossed off of our lengthy To-Do list.  This is Jim cleaning the rust off of the sea water pump that he removed because the hoses were leaking.  He also replaced the impeller. 

Next project, replace the sliders on our companionway hatch.
They had become fractured and brittle with age and the first couple of inches had broken out.

Of course, nothing on a boat is easily accessible.  Cutting out the old sliders involved holding a hacksaw blade between the slider and the hatch and sawing with tiny strokes, back and forth and back and forth and, well you get the idea.  It took a long time.

This photo shows the old slider with the piece broken off at the bottom, the removal of the old piece and our nice, new, smooth slider.  Nice job Jim!

We've been kicking around this idea for awhile and finally decided to do it.  The storage compartment under the settee on the starboard-side of the salon was virtually inaccessible.  To get to the compartments we had to remove the companionway stairs, fold up the table, slide the bunk out and then we could get at the storage.  It was designed to pull out into a double bed but we never used it.  Easy access to our limited storage was more important.  This photo shows where Jim marked the bunk so we could cut openings to the storage below.

We then dismantled the settee, loaded this 6 1/2 ft, heavy panel in the dinghy and then in a taxi where we took it to a workshop to have the holes cut out.  The left side shows the access point with the cover on while the right side shows it open to reveal the cover for the storage compartment below.  Now we can easily lift the cushion and access these storage compartments.  They been transformed from dead storage to usable compartments.

A major project for this year is the replacement of our 24 year old fuel tank.  We discovered a small amount of diesel in the bilge and knew that the tank had developed a leak.  Jim pumped the remaining fuel out and into jerry cans.  We then had a handyman crawl down in the lazarette and saw out the old tank.  Luxor is young and therefore he could sit in a fetal position for a long period of time while he sawed out the side of the lazarette to access the fuel tank.  Did I mention that nothing is easily accessible on a boat?  Here he is cutting through the wood.

The now accessible fuel tank.

Of course by accessible I mean that Luxor could detach the hoses and pull the tank out into the lazarette but the tank was 1 inch bigger than the opening.  One Inch!  So Luxor had to cut the tank in two while he was still in the lazarette.  Jim ordered a new fuel tank from the states which arrived about 6 weeks later.
Luxor also cleaned the hull, another difficult job when you have to stand in a bouncing, rocking dinghy to do it.  His comment, "It's been awhile since you've done this, isn't it?"  See, that's what happens when you hire a professional.  They can tell right away that you've been slacking off!  It took a lot off hard scrubbing and buffing but Luxor put the shine back on Merengue!  In the meantime, I did some shining of my own.  I polished all the stainless.  I'm always amazed at how quickly the rust forms.  It's these tasks that make me kind of miss fresh water.  I never had to polish stainless before.  These jobs also make me very content to only have to care for a 27 ft boat.  I do not envy those big-boat owners with 20 more feet of polishing and cleaning!
Next week we tackle the big jobs when we have Merengue hauled out for new bottom paint and some repairs.

Monday, April 1, 2013

JU and WU at the UC of SGU

"I refuse to join any club that would have me as a member." 
Groucho Marx
What do ya know!  We're members!
We joined The University Club in Grenada.
Only this is much better than when we were going to a university.
It's in the Caribbean and there are no tests!
The club is affiliated with St. George's University and is open to university faculty, staff and associate members like us.  It's a beautiful facility with rooms for visiting faculty and lecturers as well as two bars, a restaurant, pool, bocce ball court and beach.

 View from the restaurant terrace.
Kids pool to the left, adults to the right.

 The restaurant and bar overlook the pool, beach and Prickly Bay.
Bocce Ball court.  Matt and Karen, where are you?

 They even provide a dock for those of us who come by sea.
We spent a beautiful day at the pool yesterday.
Hope you had a nice Easter too!